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back to article Western consumption helping to kill off species

Grab a coffee, add two sugars, and check the news on your tablet: you’ve just helped kill off a species in a country you might never have heard of. A school of physics may not be where you expect someone to analyze endangered species, but that’s the source of research from Sydney University, showing the link between the gadget, …

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WTF?

our universities have gone mental

If a physics department buys this "sustainability" bullshit then all is lost. There is no mass extinction, it is psychosis. There are no "blood minerals", it marxist bullshit. The whole green religion has no place in universities.

If the Register does not do something about these gullible green reporters I am out of here.

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Re: our universities have gone mental

Bye.

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Re: our universities have gone mental

Awww. Angry toddlers are cute.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There is no mass extinction, it is psychosis."

Thank you.

Now my mind's at rest again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: our universities have gone mental

If the Register does not do something about these gullible green reporters I am out of here.

If the Register does not do something about these [insert something I don't like here] reporters I am out of here.

The Register has reporters for nearly any preconception and bias you could want. If they won't throw out the one(s) reporting on topics in a manner I find disagreeable, why should your pet topics be so treated? In short: don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Twatdangle.

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rav
WTF?

Say it aint't so

Are you saying that industrialization and development threatens species sustainability? Get out!! Wow. Never would have thunk that.

How many boffins does it take to screw in a light bulb?

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@rav (was: Re: Say it aint't so)

"How many boffins does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

One. We grok how shit works.

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Coat

Re: Say it aint't so

"How many boffins does it take to screw in a light bulb? "

There are many competing theories:

None. once they observe it's state it will have already changed..

None. That is what their students are for.

Only one, but he’ll change it many times as everything in science has to be repeatable.

One in theory but the hypothesis has yet to be proven.

Two. One holds the bulb, while the other rotates the universe.

Eleven. One does the job, ten join as co-authors.

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Re: Say it aint't so

@rav

Well, people like Cartman who're living in an ideological bubble (and therefore assume that their "enemies" aka. "other people not in their bubble" are also in similar spheres) seem to be missing the obvious in quite convincing fashion.

Unfortunately, for Cartman, logical deduction and evidence are not as important being, and staying, angry at the world.

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Re: Say it aint't so

"How many boffins does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

Only two but they must be very small....

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@Zombie Womble: Re Eleven

You forgot the five to perform the peer review, and the six to format and grammar edit the paper.

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Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

The entire Pacific isn't in the graphic?

That's about a third of the globe ...

And what do the colo(u)rs mean?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

Uh... dude, it's a small image to help illustrate the article. Go look at the full thing if you want details or are wondering why the Pacific is "missing".

http://worldmrio.com/biodivmap/

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Re: Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

"Loading 4.5MB of figure data" ... No thanks.

It's astonishing, to me anyway, how many people cling to crap they read on TehIntraWebTubes[tm], just because it fits into some convenient mind-set, with handy graphics to "prove the point", without actually proving anything.

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Re: Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

@jake

It's astonishing, to me anyway, how many people cling to a random and arbitrary paranoid suspicion and then discard offers of evidence which might allow them to further explore the accuracy of their own opinions.

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Re: Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

Jake, how much do you get on Orlowski's redneck retainer?

"Loading 4.5MB of figure data" ... No thanks.

And it's *their* convenient mind-set which is at fault?

Let's try again:

"Loading 4.5MB of facts" ... No thanks.

Sussed you.

More dumbness: "without actually proving anything"

You know, or should know, that there is no such things as proof outside of mathematics. No certainty. However, no certainty that x will happen != certain that x will not happen. Whether you like it or not, reality will do as it pleases, which may not please us. It may kill us. You don't want that? Okay, you're invulnerable now.

Bollox to this, you used to post useful stuff.

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Pint

Re: Things that make you go "hmmmm" ...

"Jake, how much do you get on Orlowski's redneck retainer?"

Zip. I'm an independent haranguer.

"Sussed you."

Can you get raw data from that web page that is meaningful? I sure as hell can't. It's an 'orrible example of so-called "web design", and can't really be used to derive meaningful data..

"You know, or should know, that there is no such things as proof outside of mathematics. No certainty. However, no certainty that x will happen != certain that x will not happen. Whether you like it or not, reality will do as it pleases, which may not please us. It may kill us. You don't want that? Okay, you're invulnerable now."

My point is that telling me that it IS happening, without proof, is not likely to make me campaign for your cause ... on EITHER side of the eco-debate. From personal perspective, and family history, the weather hasn't changed, sea-levels aren't rising, and critters are plentiful from insects to fish to reptiles to foul to apex predators like puma, bears, house cats and HomoSap. A few species might go missing along the evolutionary journey, and a few might get remixed into something completely different[1] ... but what else is new?

"Bollox to this, you used to post useful stuff."

OK. If you require litmus tests, you require litmus tests. It's your life.

Suggestion: Relax & have a homebrew :-)

[1] Does Dinosaur taste of Duck, Chicken or Goose? Inquiring minds ...)

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"Grab a coffee, add two sugars, and check the news on your tablet: you’ve just helped kill off a species in a country you might never have heard of"

I hope it is a spider. I f*****g hate spiders.

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Happy

So You really can have your freetrade coffee and know you made a difference :-)

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They also serve who only sit and spin...

"I hope it is a spider. I f*****g hate spiders".

Fair enough. Yet those of us who grew up reading "ecological" SF stories by guys like James H Schmitz can readily imagine that a world with no spiders at all might have some unpleasant aspects for us. Like being buried alive in heaving mounds of whatever it is the spiders normally eat.

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Meh

Re: They also serve who only sit and spin...

"Like being buried alive in heaving mounds of whatever it is the spiders normally eat."

Couldn't I just have another couple of coffees?

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Re: They also serve who only sit and spin...

Tribbles?

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Re: They also serve who only sit and spin...

"Couldn't I just have another couple of coffees?"

I imagine that it would have to be a different stuff for a different species: maybe a cup of tea, or some of that fancy imported chocolate that costs a small fortune, but tastes so very good.

Actually, I wonder if it would be possible to pick your diet (or use of material) to specifically kill off a particular species? And what would the implications of that be?

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Re: They also serve who only sit and spin...

"Actually, I wonder if it would be possible to pick your diet (or use of material) to specifically kill off a particular species? And what would the implications of that be?"

Bad luck, Gavin: Murphy's Law specifically forbids all such scenarios. When you mess with a complex ecology, the way to bet is that outcomes will be unpredictable and unintended. Often the exact opposite of what you hoped to do, unless there is some other outcome that is still more disastrous.

Don't blame me: blame Murphy.

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RESEARCH PROVES WHAT COMMON SENSE HAS SAID FOR YEARS-GREAT!

It has been obvious for over 40 years. THEN, WHY DO WE STILL CONTINUE TO BREED LIKE RATS?

I wonder, How much extinction has that elaborate research contributed to-? HA!

CHEERS.

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Boffin

«THEN, WHY DO WE STILL CONTINUE TO BREED LIKE RATS?»

Because it's fun - the same reason why some of us like to make excessive use of the Caps-Lock key....

Henri

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Anonymous Coward

Re: RESEARCH PROVES WHAT COMMON SENSE HAS SAID FOR YEARS-GREAT!

We don't actually, the birth rate has dipped below replacement level or is approaching it in most developed countries, most of the world population growth comes from places like India, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, etc. Once they become more developed and the people's concerns shift from meeting basic needs and security in old age to things like putting their kids through school, balancing the cost of raising kids with the cost of the mortage, pension, etc. then the birth rate will drop. This is probably going to be the last century of population growth.

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Pint

Extinction happens all the time

Fortunately, so does evolution.

Happily, Nature doesn't have schedules, deadlines, quotas, targets or (afaik) agendas, and will continue to do what it has done so well for aeons, regardless - re-invention, reconstruction, reconstitution. Whether the human animal will have the patience and/or nouse to roll with it - thats another story.

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Meh

Re: Extinction happens all the time

@Mitoo Bobsworth

Sure, it's all random and meaningless... but isn't it *interesting*? Isn't it *exciting* to see what has emerged from sheer chance? Wouldn't it be the opposite of utterly selfish and murderous to give other lines of evolution (which ultimately all represent a family to which we belong) a chance to continue surviving and changing?

It seems the two things which made us what we are, were a single point evolution in the density of muscle networks around the lips (leading to speech) and a wierd inheritable disease which slows down new neural connectivity (giving us time to learn)... these are things which can happen to pretty much any other line as well given time (or genetic engineering).

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No such lady

"Happily, Nature doesn't have schedules, deadlines, quotas, targets or (afaik) agendas, and will continue to do what it has done so well for aeons..."

No it hasn't, because there is no such person or thing as "nature". The Latin "natura" just means, essentially, "the way things are" (literally, "inborn"). And, of course, the biosphere is engaged in a random walk that happens, very recently, to have produced human beings and let them thrive. Any day, it may veer off in a different direction and then we may find that sharks, ants, wasps, cockroaches, crocodiles and other hardy species still have a lot more of what it takes to survive than we do.

With our extremely finicky and demanding requirements, we would do well to make every effort not to rock the boat too much.

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Anonymous Coward

The fella that hates spiders will be happy to be covered from head to toe in flies i suppose.

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FAIL

@ Cartman and jake

Cartman & Jake

You are actually no better than rabid greens, you and them both cling to some ideal not because theres proof or science but because you want to have a cause.

How you cannot see that a system (well call it an ecosystem if that isnt to greenie for you) cannot have one part of it taking an action that effects another part of it, then you really need to have a bit of a think.

Personally I am for environmental protection and do think we need to at least think about sustainability and our actions on the planet (and the ecosystem and weather systemss globally is complex enough that you cannot always say whether the extinction of some flora or fauna or loss of some habitat may or may not have some far reaching effect), if only for the fact that I actually quite like seeing some natural areas that havent been destroyed by mankinds actions.

But the radicals on both sides of the debate are basically idiots who are ruining the whole lets get some real facts out and see what we need to worry about thing.

You guys are in this camp well done.

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Pint

Re: @ Cartman and jake

You miss my point, Triggerfish.

I know the land, critters & the weather. I'm a rancher, fisherman, and sometime logger. I have to understand it to survive. Neither side of the eco-argument has ever really meshed with my reality. We're still fully capable of running this place with 1850s technology, and do for a couple-three weeks once a quarter/season when we do Camps for "at risk yoof".

Yes, it changes from year to year. But overall? I have planting, rain-fall and crop yield diaries from my Great Grandfathers & Grandfathers & Father ... and my own. It's a wash. They all had good years, and bad years. So have I. Same homesteads. Dating back to 1860ish.

Gut feeling is that the Sun drives all ... and us humans are too puny to ever make even a small dent in that fact. Get on with your life, locally, and deal with the weather. You can't control your local micro-climate and region, never mind the entire World, much less the Solar System or Local Group, to say nothing of the Galaxy.

And of course, as always, I recommend relaxing & enjoying a homebrew :-)

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maybe we are killing species but....

2 points:

Humans are harming nature? Ok. But humans are natural, and we are naturally inventive and hungry. So our mining, farming, trading etc is natural. Its not as if we are a species from a another planet; we are from earth, and we are using earth to its fullness. Like a beaver, gnawing down a tree, to make a damm, which moves the flow of the river. So whats the issue?

Species die out all the time. Look at the dinosaurs, that was nothing to do with us. So what if we kill off a few thousand species. Nature does it all the time, so why cant we?

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Re: maybe we are killing species but....

This is true, however its also natural for people to break down into tribes and figh for territory which I guess means you could justiy that war is perfectly natural and should be enjoyed with gusto, or us to catch diseases and drop dead so why worry about medicine.

I guess the virus speech in the matrix is somewhat along those lines.

You can argue that most natural species find a balance in there environment that means that population prerssure genrally is balanced by effects of the environment lack of food, territory, resources weak and sick dying etc.

(Although I guess there may be logical flaws in that arguement).

I just prefer to think that evolution gave us brains to overcome these problems and the potential screwing up of the environment we live in, are part of and that sustains us, the same way we have used these brains to overcome the other challaneges we have had in our history to aid our survival.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: maybe we are killing species but....

Good grief. It doesn't matter if it's "natural" or not - which is far too abstract and pointless an argument to get into. The real point here is if it's desirable. Is it really desirable to us to harm ecosystems and kill off thousands and species? To any sane person, no obviously of course not, these are useful resources for a variety of reasons. e.g. practical applications like medicine research, the fact these species are links in food sources or food sources themselves, and simply the fact these things are nice to enjoy in their own right, and pass on to future generations.

For example would you just as casually dismiss destroying the works of Leonardo Da Vinci? Again, most sane people would say that would be a travesty. So why is it any more acceptable to lose something as complex and irreplaceable as an entire species?

Like other posters have said already, the problem with debated like this is you have a group of morons on either side and all the regular people in-between. The "green" types would have us all back to the pre-industrial revolution, cycle everywhere, eat local organic food, etc. etc. (except they wouldn't really because they're hypocrites and those methods aren't sustainable either). Then on the other side you have the idiots that think they can just make the entire problem go away by pretending it doesn't exist and is all just part of some liberal agenda.

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What did I take away from this?

Evolution is only good sometimes apparently.

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Humans multiply,

use up all the resources on their planet while desperately striving to find a way to leave said planet. Lotsa luck guys. I'll be outta here long before the last oat is eaten.

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Coat

Does anyone else think...

... that map from the University of Sydney looks a bit like the board game Pandemic?

Just sayin' ;-)

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Headmaster

"not-honourable"

Really? What's wrong with "dishonourable"?

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ok

Everybody stop that global trade, count your food miles, save the planet. Does anybody who has not been smokin Colombian really believe that crap? The physics people should stick to splitting atoms and leave the real science to the rest of us.

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Gaia and great mother earth

Let's look at this completely selfishly

On one hand, I take - I get rich quick but I destroy a few species

On the other hand, I wonder what the chain of causality would be - what will come back and bite me on my backside because of something I did today?

Kill off a few thousand species? Australia is an excellent example. When Europeans first introduced cattle, the outback gradually began to fill up with sh*t. All those cowpats weren't being cleared away, they just plopped around for years on end covering the ground. We had to send 6 species of dung beetle to find which one survived and cleared up the mess. Without the dung beetle, we would literally be in deep Sh*t! This didn't take a generation, it took about 15 years! So I'm not just messing things up for my grandkids, I'm messing things up for me!

So which species' can I afford to lose? Can I tell that I'm not affecting any of the species I can't afford to lose? How would I know?

And the selfish answer should be: hmm, better think about the damage I'm causing. Or the next species to be wiped out might just be humans (the Gaia theory holds that Earth will survive, will adjust to new circumstances. But we might not survive with the Earth, especially if we are the problem)

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@Jake

I'm sorry but I beg to differ.

There seems to be evidence that intensive logging in Africa has effected the water tables/ and the ability of the land to retain water/ weather and is helping towards some of the difficulties they are having over there with famine.

Likewise there is evidence that we do effect microclimate (LA weather patterns and the effects car exhaust have on them for example).

I cant say how this effects the global wethaer patterns and for me jurys out on AGW, (I feel that we may have some effect as I find it hard to believe that our actions dont, and after all the earths atmosphere has been changed before by stomnbolites so its possible we could be doing something, however see my disclaimer somewhere in this missive about the use of gut feelings.)

The Sea of Cortez has Humbolt squid moving in and becoming the new apex predator for the region over sharks mainly because the shark population has been hit by our actions such as finning. Which is fine one apex predator takes the place, except the humboldt squid outbreed sharks by a significannt factor, and are generally more effecient and less picky about what they eat. So not good news for lots of fish stocks.

Plastic in the oceanic gyres braking down into granular form and getting in the food chain. Introducing fun things like PCB.

Obvioulsy none of this matters as humans dont eat fish.

I've seen reefs damaged just because someone can't be bothered to look over the side of a boat in clear water and check where they are dropping there anchor, no matter because its only a bit of reef and in the great scheme of things losing that doesnt really matter, course I can also show you islands ringed by reefs that only say 10-20% are actually living and healthy, because one person being a bit lazy does not make much difference a lot of people being lazy however....also TBF some of it was dynamited to make it a bit easier to land on shore, then again a lot of healthy reef was used as a base for concrete in places like the maldives years ago, cheaper than importing.

PS gut feeling as well is all very well but I trust your gut a lot less than I would trust proper research, and looking at your small local environment and saying well thats all ok here so therefore everything else in the world must be alright is a great leap of faith.

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@AC 1:50

I worry it may sound a bit hippyish to say it like this (and no I am not, always though greenpeace was wrong in their anti nuclear stance, peta are muppets etc), and didnt want to try and add emotions to my arguement but I have to say I agree.

I've seen sea eagles just floating on air currents 15ft above my head, and snorkelled with sharks swimming past with unbeliavable grace within arms reach.

To destroy something like that just because we cant be bothered to make the odd bit of effort now and again speaks of a callousness of human nature that is sorta shameful, and makes hypocrits of us to say we are superior because we have art and understand beauty. Personally i dont want to turn round to the next generations and explain theres no such things as orangutans because I wanted to pay a couple of pence less on palm oil used in a chocolate bar.

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